For a college football coach preparing to play a department rival the 2nd week of September in 2001, the terrorist attacks on that Tuesday left an enduring impact similar to they provided for every other American.
“Life changed permanently as of that day,” remembered Tommy Tuberville in a conversation with Yellowhammer News.
In his 3rd season leading the Auburn Tigers, Tuberville remained in the workplace early that eventful morning working toward the group’s 2nd video game against a Nick Saban-coached LSU squad.
“We won our first game, and we had a great practice on Monday,” Tuberville explained. “Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we always went to operate at 5:00 in the morning. That Tuesday morning was no various.”
Tuberville said it was a video game they understood they needed to win to have a shot at the department title.
“We were really young,” he remarked. “We had a young Ronnie Brown, Carnell Williams, Jason Campbell; all these guys were young. We understood we were going to be skilled, so we worked all summertime for this game.”
As Tuberville came out of a conference, one of the group’s secretaries pointed out that something was going on in New york city.
“You were believing, ‘What the heck? How could somebody encounter a building unintentionally?'” he said.
Like so many individuals, he was watching in real-time when the 2nd aircraft hit the World Trade Center towers.
“I went and got all the other coaches and we sat and expected a while,” mentioned Tuberville. “When there wasn’t anything we might do, we entered into a personnel meeting.”
That exact same secretary soon beckoned the training staff back to the tv to witness what was unfolding.
Tuberville explained that the images of the towers falling were plain, and the news of the attack at the Pentagon struck near house. Among Tuberville’s long-time coaches had a son who worked at the Pentagon.
“He was on the phone trying to reach his partner due to the fact that she was in a panic,” he stated. “This type of went on all day long and the game was forgotten. When the gamers got done class we had a team meeting. By that time, they had stopped all flight, and they had actually canceled the game. There wasn’t anything we might do. Everyone was in type of a daze.”
When college football returned in progress the following week, the Auburn football group was set to handle an opponent in a video game with a little additional meaning.
The Tigers headed to New york city to take on against Syracuse University.
In the week leading up to the video game, Tuberville kept in mind the questions focusing on the attacks instead of the game, itself.
“It wasn’t about Syracuse and Dwight Freeney, who was a fantastic football player, it had to do with us going and playing in New York,” he stated. “It was going to be a hard chore, we understood that.”
Tuberville specified that the group’s flight to New York was amongst the very first planes back in the air. He called the atmosphere flying “completely various.” Flying their usual chartered Delta flight out of Columbus, Georgia, there were stringent bag checks and security unlike anything they had actually experienced in the past.
“We fly up, and we enter into New York airspace, and I look out on the wings, we had an F-16 on each wing,” specified Tuberville. “It opened our eyes at that point that our world had actually altered.”
Tuberville instantly saw the continuous stream of military aircrafts that were landing, refueling and removing again at the airport when the group landed.
“It was type of spooky, to be honest with you,” he explained.
For the game the next day, the group was required to get to the arena practically four hours prior to kickoff for security factors. Under the team’s normal regular, they would show up 2 hours before the video game.
At the video game were families of first-responders eliminated in the attacks, in addition to the governor of New York at the time, George Pataki. Pataki and many of the member of the family spoke with the Syracuse team before the video game and took part in an on-field ceremony and prayer prior to kickoff.
“All the men on our group learned a lot about our country at that time and the significance of being under attack and how we came together,” provided Tuberville. “That is among the couple of times we have been together as a nation in a very long time. Everyone gathering due to the fact that of the attacks.”
“For a brief period of time in this country, everyone was on the exact same page. For a couple of months, we were all Americans, and we were all drawing in the best direction,” he concluded. “I would enjoy for us to be able to get to that point as 340 million people like we were at that time.”
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia